WPP's Busy M&A Week: Invests in Woven Digital, All Def And Strikes Alliance With Tencent

WPP was busy on the deal-making front this week, announcing two strategic investments — in Woven Digital and separately, Russell Simmons’ All Def Digital — as well as an alliance with China’s Tencent to create a social innovation and “ideation” lab. Terms weren’t disclosed. 

Woven is a digital media company that targets millennial males in the U.S. with pop culture content that is distributed to nearly 50 million monthly users.  Clients include AB Inbev, AT&T, NBC Universal and the Ultimate Fighting Championship. 

The Woven investment is being made via WPP Ventures, which is leading a Series B round whose other participants include Institutional Venture Partners and H-14. 

The ADD investment is also being made through WPP Ventures, along with other firms including Third Wave Digital Partners and Andreessen Horowitz, as well as existing ADD investors Greycroft Partners, Advancit Capital, Nu Horizons Investments and e.ventures. 



All Def produces and distributes music and content tailored for the urban-centric youth culture. The firm distributes content through its own media properties, social media channels, traditional and premium television, cinemas and live events. Clients include NBC Universal and Samsung. 

With Tencent, WPP has signed a “memorandum of understanding” to create what the parties are calling the “China Social Marketing Lab.”

The lab will utilize technology, analytics and creative to build social ideas and campaigns for Tencent’s QQ and Weixin/WeChat platforms. 

WPP CEO Martin Sorrell stated, “This partnership combines the best of talent and technology within WPP and Tencent. Fostering innovation in the social sphere is key in today’s world of hyper-connectivity.”


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